Sunday, April 24, 2011

Brief Musings on Cote D'Ivoire via the music of Espoir 2000

It has been quite an eventful past few weeks in Cote D'Ivoire. Actually it has  been quite an eventful past few months and one could argue years. I've written a few blog posts on the crisis in Cote D'Ivoire but  chose not to publish these since they can best be described as frustration-filled rantings on the selfishness of African politicians.

Moving right along. I was just listening to the 22 April BBC Africa Today podcast from the Focus on Africa daily show. It appears there are attempts to normalize life in Cote D'Ivoire. President-elect Ouattara says that with assistance from France (?), two months salaries will be paid. There are plans for Nigeria to supply crude oil as well as cooking gas to prevent breaks in supply. It is hoped that by the end of April, normalization should be a reality.

Despite efforts at normalization, what has been on my mind lately is how a very-much polarized  Cote D'Ivoire will once again be united. In the meantime, I've been listening to one of my favorite Ivorian music groups Espoir 2000 (Hope 2000). Their 2006 album Gloire et Dieu (God and Glory) is not only laden with infectious 'zouglou' tracks but with  lyrics full of wisdom and a little prescience. Well, that could just be my rusty French speaking!  

My favorite track from the Gloire et Dieu album would have to be Abidjan Farot which just makes me want to head out to Abidjan and party:

In fact, the entire Gloire et Dieu album has some interesting gems such as Année 80 (1980) which starts with the (translated) line:
"In the time of Boigny, there was joy, in the time of Boigny there was peace".   
Aside from tracks harking back to a nostalgic and idyllic past under the late President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, there are also  tracks relevant to the Ivorian future. Well, the future after 2006 that is.
The opening lyrics of the track Trop C'est Trop offer food for thought for not only Ivorian but African leaders in general:

"Coute que coute vaille que vaille je serais president
J’y tient tellement que je suis prêt à tuer
Schéma classique d’une comédie politique
Aujourd’hui on tue des gens qu’on veut gouverner demain.." 

"At all costs somehow I would be president

I feel so strongly in this that I am ready to kill
Classic plot of a political comedy
Today we kill the people we want to govern tomorrow.."   
Sadly, the official  Espoir 2000 video on YouTube has really poor quality sounds but interesting images that capture the spirit of the song.
Despite my sounding quite pessimistic, I'm actually filled with hope that Cote D'Ivoire will rally again. In the meantime, I'm heading back to listen to Espoir 2000, Meiway, Magic System, Alpha Blondy and all other artistes who capture the irrepressible spirit of the Ivoiran people.


Afrocentric said...

I love the song 'Abidjan Farot'. The beat always carries me away to a beach party somewhere on the West African coast! I haven't heard the rest of the album though. I think I'll have to though!
I also hop Cote d'Ivoire sorts out its problems. Hopefully it well get back on track very soon.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Afrocentric you definitely have to check out the rest of the album. The songs have a strange nostalgic feel for me. Super-talented guys.